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Melbourne University’s highest honour for Ravi Shankar PDF Print E-mail

© Neena Bhandari

ImageSYDNEY, March 19:  Acclaimed sitar maestro Ravi Shankar will be conferred with the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) for his commitment to music and humanity by the University of Melbourne at a special ceremony today.

The degree, the highest honour conferred by the University, will be presented to the world-renowned sitar player, composer, teacher and writer by the University’s Chancellor and Chairman of the Australia India Institute, Alex Chernov.

Ravi Shankar is currently on his farewell concert tour of Australia with his daughter Anoushka, a sitar virtuoso composer in her own right had thrilled audiences in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in 2008 with her kaleidoscopic blend of sounds from India and beyond.

They will perform in Melbourne on Saturday after two sell-out performances in Sydney this week and mesmerising audiences with their music last week at the annual 2010 Womadelaide Festival in Adelaide.

The maestro joins an international group of eminent people honoured by the University of Melbourne with the honorary Doctor of Laws degree. They include The Dalai Lama, Burmese democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi, academic and commentator on public issues Germaine Greer, and distinguished Australian scientist Professor Sir Gustav Nossal.

Ravi Shankar has been regarded as a ‘singular phenomenon in the classical music world of East and West’ and has inspired musicians from George Harrison of the Beatles to jazz saxophonist John Coltrane to composer Philip Glass with an enduring eloquence.

Shankar, who turns 90 on April 7, has told The Australian newspaper that he has no intention of giving up performing, recording or writing because of his age. "Music is what keeps me going. I can never stop thinking of new things, composing new things," Shankar said.

Shankar is an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is a member of the United Nations International Rostrum of composers. He has received 14 doctorates and many national and international awards, including the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan, the Magsaysay Award, two Grammy's.

© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from any content is expressly prohibited without  the permission of the writer and the news agency through which the article is syndicated. 
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